When you think of Nicholas Zrnic, the expression ‘high flying’ comes to mind. He’s a gymnast par excellence, competing in the Nationals in 2014 and 2018 (where he picked up seven medals) in the Down Syndrome world games in Florence in 2016 (gold in the high bar) and the European championship in 2018.
Gymnastics, however, is not the only sport the talented 26-year-old engages in. You’ll also see him in the pool at Oakhill College and on the basketball court at Castle Hill High, and he’s pretty good at both sports. He also revelled in ice skating when the Norwest Business Park rink was open.
So, what is Nick’s favourite sports team? … the Los Angeles Lakers of course, championship after championship spearheaded by superstars like Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. No surprise then that his favourite programs on TV are basketball games (plus Xbox).
Nick’s favourite foods are meat and pizza (plenty of protein to build up his muscles) and his Number One Super Hero is the Green Arrow. The best holiday he ever had was visiting his relatives in Croatia.
Off the basketball court he loves nothing better than ten-pin bowling and the movies.
When it comes to holidays, ten-pin bowler Christine Lam knows exactly what her favourite was: a trip to Japan with her mother where she visited a warm sandpit.
That’s probably the other end of the spectrum from a bowling alley, but the 36-year-old loves her bowling too. Not to mention cooking, swimming and the gymnasium. She’s especially fond of dumplings and dogs (the animal, not the edible, kind).
A keen supporter of the Sydney Swans (yes, AFL not ARL!), Christine’s favourite TV show is The Chase Australia and her favourite Super Hero (no surprises here!) is Wonder Woman.
Outside Special Olympics, Christine really enjoys attending peer support groups where she can make even more new friends
Call by the Castle Hill High gymnasium any Wednesday night during term time and chances are you’ll see a blonde lady sitting on the sidelines intently watching the Hills Special Olympics basketball action. And why wouldn’t she? Her son, Steven, is out there, practising bounce passes and pass fakes and layups with the best of ’em.
No benchwarmer, this: Steven is right into the thick of it. Indeed, one of his goals in Special Olympics is to get better at basketball.
Steven swims (breaststroke and backstroke) and dances as well as playing basketball. A veteran of regional carnivals in both swimming and basketball plus a State Basketball Carnival, his enthusiasm is contagious.
Dad Richard, sister Rachelle and brother Matthew are big supporters of Steven’s sporting efforts as well, although we don’t know whether they share his liking for chicken wraps (his favourite food). Mum, Lynda, is the basketball co-ordinator.
When he’s not dribbling the ball or reeling off laps in the Oakhill College pool, Steve enjoys listening to music and watching it on the computer, as well as watching DVDs. His favourite sporting team is the Brisbane Broncos.
We can forgive him these minor lapses. He’s a great competitor and a real asset to Sydney Hills Special Olympics.
Just wondering, though: who does he barrack for in State of Origin?
Melany Newman, joined Hills Special Olympics in 2012. Melany is an enthusiastic dancer who is extremely proud of winning most improved dancer in her group for 2014.
“Special Olympics gives me the opportunity to participate in sports events, meet other athletes and make new friends,” she says.
With the support of her father Geoff, Mother Angela and brothers Stuart and Troy, Melany also enjoys ten-pin bowling and netball during the winter months.
Her favourite sports team? You guessed it – the Australian Womens Netball Team, the Diamonds. So far as she’s concerned, Diamonds really are forever.
The best word to describe Emma Matthews is “all-rounder”. This bubbly young lady is a swimmer, dancer, ten-pin bowler and netballer. And she’s good at them all! Emma represented NSW in the swimming at the Special Olympics Nationals in October 2014 winning silver and bronze, but she’s also a member of the Rockets ten-pin bowling club at Hornsby who compete and travel nationally each year within the disability bowling competitions.
Emma plays netball on Saturday afternoons, works in the hairdressing industry and manages to fit in gym sessions during the week.
Her favourite food – which gives her lots of energy for all the activities she undertakes – is chicken kebab.
Mum Christine and Dad Neil have three other children – Sheree, Ben and Sam. The family is getting bigger all the time, now with five beautiful grandchildren.
Emma’s sport heroes are swimmer Michael Klim and athlete Cathy Freeman.
Truly inspirational, Emma.
See how you can get involved
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